friendlier toronto

Two friends found startup to change the way Toronto restaurants package food

Two friends who met while finishing up their undergraduate studies have launched a startup that's now changing the way Toronto restaurants are packaging their food.

They say Friendlier is actually the fastest-growing reusable packaging company in the country, with 100 businesses across Ontario now involved and recently hitting a milestone of having over 100,000 of their packages reused.

Friendlier was founded in 2019 by Kayli Dale and Jacquie Hutchings while still finishing up their studies in Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo, where they first met.

"We studied in Sweden for four months where we learned about circular economy practices and became inspired to bring them to North America," Dale tells blogTO.

Since graduating in April 2020, this has been their full-time hustle, and by now they have a team of 15 people.

They originally launched in Guelph in November 2020, their very first restaurant being The Cornerstone, and now they've launched in their first restaurant ever in Toronto at Earlscourt BBQ, in November 2021.

"Our reusable packaging system is the first of its kind, with the ability to completely replace single-use packaging," says Dale.

The Friendlier system works using an app, and it's totally free. Using their digital deposit system, you just pay a deposit with your meal and then get it back on their platform when the packaging is returned to any participating business.

Containers are completely sanitized between uses by a high-temperature dishwasher that kills 99.999 per cent of bacteria and viruses. They come in all different sizes and styles, including round, rectangular, compartmentalized, deli-style tubs and coffee cups.

"The takeout containers we use are manufactured in Ontario with 24 per cent less energy than a single-use container and with each reuse we drive the impact down further," says Dale.

At this point, they've already gotten into numerous other Toronto restaurants and businesses, including The Sweet Potato, By The Way, Fiorentina, Sanagan's Meat Locker and Evelyn's Crackers.

Their hope is to build technology to enable reuse systems to flourish and to eventually completely eliminate single-use packaging.

If you're interested in helping them on their mission and wish you could get food from your favourite restaurant in reusable containers, you can refer them to Friendlier using a template they've created.

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